Influence of One Hour versus Two Hours of Daily Static Stretching for Six Weeks Using a Calf-Muscle-Stretching Orthosis on Maximal Strength

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Rebuilding strength capacity is of crucial importance in rehabilitation since significant atrophy due to immobilization after injury and/or surgery can be assumed. To increase maximal strength (MSt), strength training is commonly used. The literature regarding animal studies show that long-lasting static stretching (LStr) interventions can also produce significant improvements in MSt with a dose–response relationship, with stretching times ranging from 30 min to 24 h per day; however, there is limited evidence in human studies. Consequently, the aim of this study is to investigate the dose–response relationship of long-lasting static stretching on MSt. A total of 70 active participants (f = 30, m = 39; age: 27.4 ± 4.4 years; height: 175.8 ± 2.1 cm; and weight: 79.5 ± 5.9 kg) were divided into three groups: IG1 and IG2 both performed unilateral stretching continuously for one (IG1) or two hours (IG2), respectively, per day for six weeks, while the CG served as the non-intervened control. MSt was determined in the plantar flexors in the intervened as well as in the non-intervened control leg to investigate the contralateral force transfer. Two-way ANOVA showed significant interaction effects for MSt in the intervened leg (ƞ2 = 0.325, p < 0.001) and in the contralateral control leg (ƞ2 = 0.123, p = 0.009), dependent upon stretching time. From this, it can be hypothesized that stretching duration had an influence on MSt increases, but both durations were sufficient to induce significant enhancements in MSt. Thus, possible applications in rehabilitation can be assumed, e.g., if no strength training can be performed, atrophy could instead be reduced by performing long-lasting static stretch training.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11621
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number18
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 15.09.2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (82070381), Clinical Research Program (JYLJ202014), Multidisciplinary Team (201911) and Biobank for Coronary Heart Disease (YBKA201910) of Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, Research Projects from the Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai (20ZR1431100).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • immobilization-related strength deficit, physical therapy, plantar flexors, rehabilitation, stretch training
  • Physical education and sports